Although they didn’t secure any superstar players to add to their already dominant starting line-up, recruiting Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis will give them some added depth that will be hard to manage for opposing teams. The 2011-12 title holders have added another dimension to their roster, particularly on offense, and they can only get stronger in the 2012-13 season. Allen leads the NBA for 3 point shots made after overtaking Reggie Miller and is more than a serviceable player.
4) Brooklyn Nets
The move to Brooklyn was not the only change for the Nets, attaining star power in Joe Johnson from Atlanta. Johnson leads a strong offensive charge at the shooting-guard position, and with the re-signing of American Olympic gold medal starting point-guard Deron Williams, the Nets offence is in good hands. To add to their already-solid list, the nets added handy veterans in Reggie Evans, C.J. Watson, and Jerry Stackhouse to their bench, who will be valuable role players and provide experience for the younger players to learn from. They also managed to resign Humphries and Lopez who are starting to play some good basketball at ages 27 and 24 respectively. The future of the Brooklyn Nets is in good shape.
3) Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets were a part of the four-way deal involving Dwight Howard, and managed to acquire some valuable star-power of their own in the form of Andre Iguodala. ‘Iggy’ is a defensive dynamo, and the intensity and pressure he brings to the court is to be applauded. Iggy’s ability to lift a team is commendable, and his offense is solid. Acquiring the Olympic gold medallist did come at a cost though, losing Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington. Afflalo had a pretty average season and Harrington is now aged 32, and his hefty contract being shipped off to Orlando gives the Nuggets more room in their salary cap to work with. They also managed to secure the services of the 23 year old forward Anthony Randolph. Randolph hasn’t yet found his game, but his athleticism and raw talent could prove useful if he is able to develop at the Nuggets.
For a further analysis of Denver’s acquisition of Iggy, read Ben Sathananthan’s article https://fromthesidelinenews.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/nba-nuggets-unlikely-winners-out-of-howard-trade/
2) Dallas Mavericks
Dallas lost Jason Terry and Jason Kidd over summer, although the recruitment of O.J Mayo, Darren Collison, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman should well and truly cover their losses. The Mav’s are looking to inject some youth into a team that was disappointing in the 2011-12 season and have done so with Collison and Mayo making up the guard positions. A clean sweep in the first playoff series was unacceptable for an association that has had so much recent success. The loss of Lamar Odom comes as no surprise after he played limited minutes and had little impact on the side, although he really isn’t a hard loss to cover. The starting line-up they have built around Dirk Nowitzki continues to change with Collison, Mayo and Kaman all looking to join the starting line-up. The Mavericks should prove to be a bigger threat in the West in 2012-13 and continue their run of playoff appearances.
1) Los Angeles Lakers